If you’re anything like me then many of your proudest moments as a South African are closely associated with sport. Whether it’s underdog victories or feats of individual brilliance that inspire us and give us hope, it’s hard to ignore how sport is inextricably woven into the fabric of the tapestry that tells the story of the proverbial new South Africa.
One such moment recently was seeing our athletes – their broad smiles hidden behind masks but not from their eyes - entering the stadium under our flag during the opening ceremony of the ill-fated Tokyo Olympics.
Perhaps it was my surprise that the event went ahead at all in the midst of multiple disruptions, or the fact that it came at a time when my national energy was at an all time low but the sight of our beautifully and eclectically dressed athletes reinvigorated me with all of those feelings that I’m almost certain are unique to the experience of being South African.
One of the most noticeable aspects of those outfits were the brightly soled Veldskoen shoes that each athlete wore. These weren’t just veldskoene with a small V, there were Veldskoen, with a big V, the now internationally famous footwear and lifestyle brand born out of SA, for the world, and inspired by the traditional footwear.
These comfortable, rawhide shoes, rumoured to date back to 17th century Dutch settlers who were in turn influenced by the traditional Khoisan footwear of the same period from the DNA of an incredible story of entrepreneurship. Now funded by notable international venture capitalists the likes of Mark Cuban, Veldskoen and their flip flop off-shoot, Plakkie, are a product, a brand, and a story we can all be very proud of.
Talk about doing something original with something traditional!
The 5th episode of our #originalbytradition series, brought to by The Glenlivet, is a conversation with Nick Dreyer, one of the co-founders of Veldskoen.
Easily one of my favourites so far, and I know you’ll feel the same. Veldskoen Shoes
· Nick Dreyer
· Glenlivet Website
· Watch on YouTube